David Jakubonis, 43, was arrested Saturday and charged with assaulting a member of Congress with a dangerous weapon, according to Barbara Burns, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department. Jakubonis appeared in court for the first time before U.S. District Court Judge Marian W. Payson in Rochester on Saturday, according to court documents, and the weapon involved is described in court filings as a keychain. Self defence.
Steve Slawinski, assistant federal defense attorney for the Western District of New York who represents Jakubonis, said in a statement Jakubonis is expected to appear in court next Wednesday for a bail hearing.
“I expected to ask the judge to release him from custody at that time,” Slawinski said.
Zeldin, who has made New York’s rising crime rate the focus of his campaign’s attacks on incumbent Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul, said in a statement Saturday that he “thanks the federal government for stepping in to do what the New York State’s broken pro-crime justice system can’t – uphold the rule of law.”
According to a criminal complaint filed Saturday, Jakubonis, an army veteran, is said to have told authorities that he drank whiskey on the day of the operation and “certainly checked it out.” ‘ when he walked up to the stage and asked if Zeldin was disrespecting veterans. Jakubonis told authorities he did not know who Zeldin was at the time.
After his initial arrest on Thursday, Jakubonis was held for six hours before being released, where he was released on his own admission, according to Sheriff Brendan Hurley, the Monroe County deputy sheriff. . He had travel restrictions that restricted him to Monroe County and a protective order was also issued to keep him away from Zeldin, according to court records.
Earlier, Hurley told CNN, given the extent of the felony alleged to have been committed, under New York law, the presiding judge can’t set a binding even if he or she wants to. In 2019, New York’s bail reform law eliminated bail for most misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies, and Class E is the least serious felony.
Republicans expressed outrage at Jakubonis’ quick release.
Zeldin on Friday condemned the state bail system after Jakubonis was released. He said changes to the state’s cashless bail system were needed and judges should have discretion when considering who should be detained by police.
“My first and foremost concern about the cashless guarantee and the need to overhaul it is the danger,” he said. “Judges should have the power to weigh the danger. It’s about the victim,” Zeldin, who was unharmed in the attack, said at a rally in Onondaga County, New York. “But even if you’re chatting with the biggest advocate of cashless bail, I’ll challenge them on this point: I’d argue they’re doing a disservice to the person who attacked them. I was on stage last night because they were in a hurry – they had to, by law – they had to hurry to free him.”
Zeldin said on Friday he believes cashless bail should be abolished and “there should also be a certain minimum where certain cases, certain suspects, defendants, they have to be behind bars.”
Hochul tweeted Thursday night that she was “relieved to hear” Zeldin was not injured in the incident.
“My team has informed me of the incident at Lee Zeldin’s campaign event tonight. I am pleased to hear that Congressman Zeldin was not injured and the suspect is in custody. I condemn the conduct. this violence in the strongest possible terms – it has no place in New York,” Hochul wrote.
This story has been updated with additional information.